Mark Hanson

Commentary
3:12 pm
Thu February 27, 2014

Beware of Common Sense

Beware of Common Sense

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Commentary - January 29th, 2013
8:26 am
Thu January 30, 2014

The War on Poverty

Fifty years ago President Lyndon Johnson, in his State of the Union address, declared an “unconditional war on poverty.”  Last night, President Obama took the same stage once again to highlight the tragedy of poverty perpetuated by obscene and corrosive inequalities.  Given the half century between these speeches, it would be easy to conclude, as President Reagan did already in 1988, that the war on poverty is over and, as he put it, “poverty won.”  But that’s the problem with persistent and complex challenges:  we’re too easily tempted to buy into the stories that let us off the hook.

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Commentary - January 1st, 2014
10:09 am
Thu January 2, 2014

Humility: The Forgotten Virtue

On New Year’s Day, many of us make resolutions to do certain things for self-improvement.  The ancient Greeks thought that becoming a better person was the product of taking on certain traits of excellence, called virtues, traits like courage and justice.  One learns virtues by imitation:  imitate a good person, and you will become a good person.

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Commentary - December 04, 2013
10:57 am
Fri December 6, 2013

The Collapse of Compassion

We’ve seen the fateful video many times.  Dallas, November 22, 1963.  You see the turning of his head, a wave of the hand, that big smile erupting under bright eyes, and that broad shock of hair parted right to left.  At that moment, he doesn’t know that it is the last time he will ever smile.  And that unknowing, in that smiling moment, of what will happen next . . .

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Commentary
2:09 pm
Thu November 7, 2013

A Harvest for All

A Harvest for All

We reap a bountiful harvest.  Many Montana kitchens fill with aromas of applesauce simmering on stovetops and later, pumpkin pies and Thanksgiving turkeys.  We stock pantry shelves with garden bounty.  If nothing else, we sit down tonight to dinner and have the luxury of not thinking about hunger until the morning—most of us, that is.

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Commentary - October 9th, 2013
10:08 am
Thu October 10, 2013

It’s about Democracy

If you think the current standoff in Congress over the government shutdown is the failure equally of both sides to negotiate a compromise, suppose the party roles were reversed.  A Republican president is confronted by a Democratic House speaker whose most liberal party wing refuses to fund the government unless the president agrees to a single-payer, government-funded health care system.  We all know Republicans would howl that this is government by extortion, which it is.  Give a minority the laws it wants, or everybody suffers.  If President Obama gives in to current demands, th

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Commentary - September 11th, 2013
2:53 pm
Fri September 13, 2013

The Costs of Fear

September 11, 2001, is often called the Pearl Harbor of our generation.  Like our response to Pearl Harbor, we rallied ourselves to face a dangerous enemy.  Unlike Pearl Harbor, we suffered a blow targeting innocent civilians, designed to elicit fear.  And fear is a dangerous thing. 

While remembrance of the victims is our primary task for today, we do them no dishonor by also reflecting on some of the moral costs of the fear that day inspired and the lessons we might still learn.

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Commentary - June 19th, 2013
2:46 pm
Thu June 20, 2013

Finding Wildness at Home

Could it be that the simple act of planting a native snowberry shrub or quaking aspen in your back yard is more than an expression of decorative taste?  I’m willing to say that it’s actually a simple but highly significant act of conservation that fosters a way of relating to nature that we, and the natural world, could sorely use.  The ecological problems we face now require solutions on a mammoth scale—a paralyzing thought for those who care.  But perhaps before we can achieve the elusive political will to take on these problems, a more personal, psychological change must be nurtured.

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Commentary aired May 22, 2013
3:03 pm
Fri May 24, 2013

Therapeutic Cloning

Imagine, for a moment, that you have been diagnosed with early Alzheimer’s disease, and the only cure for your condition involves using one of your cells and a human egg to make an embryo, which is a clone—or genetic copy—of yourself. From that embryo—or blastocyst, technically—stem cells are removed, thereby destroying the embryo, but providing a source for the neural tissue to treat you. Would you do it?

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